The US Army Is Developing Smarter Land Mines To Prevent Civilian Casualties

The US Army is currently busing developing a new generation of land mines and battlefield munitions similar to mine. All of such weapons are eventually left in the battlefield unattended, and that is where a primary concern arises; they must prove to be effective against the high-tech enemies while also avoiding to become a long-term problem for the civilians.

The US Army makes use of different variations of battlefield munitions. However, it wants to change all of them using a new generation of land mines that are not only capable of posing a serious threat to the high-tech armies but also phone back home to report the movement of enemy troops.

The problem with mines is that while they are easy to place, they are hard to keep track of and even more difficult to remove, especially when their number goes to thousands or millions. Minefields that are uncleared and abandoned can become a very serious threat to the civilians. The threat becomes even more severe for scrap hunters and farmers who are tilling the land. Conflict zones all over the world have witnessed a high number of civilian casualties on account of abandoned mines.

Back in the early 1990s, an upsurge of public opinion caused an agreement to be signed that limited the land mines use. The International Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, also referred to as the Ottawa Treaty was signed. The treaty has 164 signatories, and it bands the manufacture, sale, and use of anti-personnel mines. Only 32 countries held out of this treaty, which included the US. The US said that there are some places, in particular, the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) where the use of mines was critical for the sake of defending friendly forces.

Nonetheless, the US does take some measures to keep in line with the spirit of the treaty. As per Army Times, the future mine’s systems ‘must have a 2 to 300km communications capability, an ability to be switched on and off, remotely modified self-destruct or deactivate mechanisms, self-report status so that users will know if they’ve been tampered with or if mine went off.’ There is, however, the issue of jamming with such a land mine system. The enemy might use jamming, thus rendering the land mines that are off as ineffective since they won’t be turned on. Furthermore, it might also hack the network and render the mines useless. If you opt for anti-hacking and anti-jamming measures; you end up increasing the cost.

What do you think about the future of landmines? Should they be used or should there use be banned altogether?